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Who Hollywood Turns To When Untying The Knot

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Maybe you hid your Google searches at work or stole your glances at the tabloids in the supermarket checkout line this past week. But we are here, in this moment, giving you permission to indulge in a little celebrity news.

Here we go. Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking physical custody of their children. The end of their marriage has already been the subject of much speculation which will, no doubt, continue. But what we're going to talk about right now is the woman tasked with making that divorce happen. Her name is Laura Wasser, and she's one of the most formidable divorce attorneys in Hollywood.

Vanity Fair reporter Julie Miller has written about Wasser and interviewed her, so we called Julie up to get more insight into the divorce lawyer to the stars. She joins us now from our studios at NPR West.

Hi, Julie.

JULIE MILLER: Hi. Thanks so much for having me.

MARTIN: Yeah, thanks for being with us. So first of all, why is she so good at this?

MILLER: She's especially skilled at dealing with these high-profile, very complicated divorces with all of these stars - have very complicated income streams. It's very specific to Hollywood. But I think what makes her special is the fact that she kind of has this dexterity between being such an amazing lawyer in the courtroom and handling these thing so well.

But also she has this kind of Hollywood appeal. She's been featured in the pages of Vogue, Elle. And she can really break down any divorce or legal situation in really easy layman's terms. When I spoke to her, it was really nice to have someone who was almost conversational about it rather than condescending, as someone with that much expertise can be.

MARTIN: How much does tabloid coverage actually affect these cases?

MILLER: The judge considers anything that runs in the tabloids to be hearsay. What I did find interesting though - well, I was speaking to a different divorce lawyer, Neal Hersh. He said that - this really blew my mind - that paparazzi photos can actually be used as evidence. So say one client is alleging that her spouse isn't a fit parent because he started drinking again and he's a recovering alcoholic.

If they can find paparazzi photos that peg this client at a bar with a glass in front of him within this time span where he was supposed to not be drinking, that could be used as evidence. If you have these paparazzi photos, a lot of the times with these celebrity clients, you don't need to hire a private detective because you have the paparazzi doing this work for you anyway.

MARTIN: Julie Miller is senior Hollywood reporter for Vanity Fair, talking about Laura Wasser, divorce attorney to the stars.

Thanks so much for talking with us, Julie.

MILLER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.